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London grassroots music venue numbers stablise after decade of decline – report

Madame Jojo's in Soho, London, which was forced to close in 2014 after losing its licence. Photo: White Heat Madame Jojo's is one of a number of high-profile London venues that have been forced to close in recent years. Photo: White Heat
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The number of grassroots music venues in London is stable for the first time since 2007, a new report claims.

The London Music Board report shows that 94 venues currently operate in the capital – the same as in 2015, but down from 144 in 2007. Previous reports had claimed there were 88 venues operating in 2015, but this number was increased after a small number of venues were re-categorised as grassroots music venues in a recent mapping process.

The London Music Board was set up in 2016 as a response to an original ‘rescue plan’ report into grassroots music venues 16 months ago. The board is chaired by Amy Lamé, who was recently appointed night tsar for London, charged with acting as a champion for the night time economy.

According to the report, music venues generate £91.8 million to the economy and more than 2,200 full time jobs. It also claims that £17 is spent nearby on food, drink and transport for every £10 spent at a music venue.

The repot also highlights how £44 million is invested in new and emerging talent every year.

When Sadiq Khan was elected mayor of London, he pledged to introduce the ‘agent of change’ principle in the next London Plan, outlining his strategy for the capital. Under this principle, developers building new properties near music venues would be responsible for ensuring they are adequately soundproofed.

According to the report, the draft London Plan will make specific reference to music venues. It will be published for consultation later this year and the final plan is due to be adopted in 2019.

In addition, the London Music Board is working with developers to offer guidance on how to include venues in their developments, which is aimed at encouraging new venues in the capital.

Khan said: “We’ve taken positive steps to address some of the challenges facing grassroots music venues, but there’s still much to be done.”

He added: “That’s why I’ve recently appointed Amy Lamé to act as a champion for live music venues and the night time economy and will ensure that the ‘agent of change’ principle is implemented across the capital – delivering real change for Londoners.”

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